Hi all. Here’s how I see baseball on this Tuesday, August 1.
I don’t know if I can describe in words how yesterday afternoon played out. I wrote the column and had it published at about 8 A.M. knowing I had an unbreakable commitment at 11:30 and and had to travel some miles from here. I knew I’d be behind the curve when I got back. When I finally reached home I brought up the MLB Network on the Internet. So far, so good. As the trades happened (or at least as the folks at MLB Network heard of them) I put them up on Twitter, considering it the fastest way to go. I could hardly finish a tweet before another trade was revealed. About 90 minutes before the deadline of 4 PM my link to the network crashed, and it was a good 15 minutes before I could connect with it again. Just before 4 PM the biggest trade of the 14 that were made happened-or so I thought. The Yankees got Sonny Gray away from Oakland for Jorge Matteo and two injured players-one being Dustin Fowler. Fowler was the center fielder who smashed into the wall in Chicago in the first inning of his first game and never got to the plate. I didn’t know it was ethical to trade injured players. The A’s took a huge gamble pinning their hopes on the health of these two men. You could win a pennant with players who were supposed to “make a full recovery” and never were more than a shadow of themselves before their injury. The other lame duck the Yankees moved out is James Kaprielian. If this were the 1930’s somebody in management would tell him to shorten his Armenian name to James Kapp so it would fit in the box score. Pete Appleton was one of many who weren’t born with their baseball names. He began life as Peter Jablonowski. More famous examples of this phenomena are Johnny Pesky and Eddie Lopat. Kap has never played above A-ball and now, Following Tommy John surgery he may or may not appear in a box score under any name. Both Sonny Gray and Jaime Garcia are expected to make the Yankees’ debuts on the team’s next road trip.
So 4 PM came and went. The MLB network quit their expanded coverage and went back to regular programming. I exhaled, only to be informed that Yu Darvish had gone to the Dodgers. The trade was announced well past the deadline but apparently it had been finalized beforehand. I wish I could use that excuse next time I’m half an hour late to a doctor’s appointment. If anything the Rangers got less than the A’s got in the Gray trade. They got a double play combination in AAA second baseman Willie Calhoun and A-level shortstop Brendan Davis who may not be a household name in his own house. They also got a pitcher AJ Alexy who won’t give CC Sabathia a run for his money. The Dodgers also got lefty relievers Tony Watson and Tony Cingrani from the Pirates and Reds respectively. The Reds got Scott Van Slyke who is Andy Van Slyke’s son. The Royals got Melky Cabrera and his baggage from the White Sox. The Nats got Brandon Kinsler from the Twins to buttress their bull pen. The Angels shipped reliever David Hernandez to the D-Backs. The Blue Jays moved veteran lefty Francisco Liriano. He’s off to Houston where he may be relegated to the bull pen. They at least got a major leaguer, Nori Aoki in the deal. They also peddled Joe Smith, who had been Sunday’s winning pitcher in their comeback win over the Angels. His reward-a one-way ticket to Cleveland. See ya later, alligator. The Mets threw in the towel for 2017 by trading closer Addison Reed to Boston for Gerson Bautista, Jamie Callahan and Stephen Nogosek. All are pitchers but only Callahan will be MLB-ready any time soon. Bautista has already been suspended once to the tune of 50 games for using PEDs. Among the frenetic trade activity the Astros signed righty pitcher Jumbo Diaz to a minor league deal. Anything that will keep Jumbo Diaz around works for me, whether he coaches, broadcasts or what. the Tigers traded Justin Wilson and Alex Avila-the son of their own general manager-to the Cubs. That will make Avila getting grounded by his daddy when he was younger not seem so important.
There were games played as well, though in most cases they paled in comparison to the day’s trade. The one exception was in Miami where the Nationals’ Gio Gonzalez started the 9th inning without allowing a hit to the Marlins. It was Dee Gordon who broke up the Miami native’s bid for baseball history in his home town. Gonzalez had a lot on his plate before he threw a pitch with intent. July 31 should have been the 25th birthday of Gio’s good friend, the late Jose Fernandez. Gio’s wife Lea was expected to go into labor at any time. So her husband took the hill for the first-place Nationals. He never had any margin for error as the game’s final score was 1-0. On defense Brian Goodwin and Wilmer Difo answered the most difficult challenges the Marlins sent their way. The rest of their atbats were soft contact at best. The team has 3 other no-hitters on their record-two by Max Scherzer, one by Jordan Zimmerman against the Marlins. Gordon prevented the 4th from being entered in the record book and prevented the Fish from being hooked again.
All Tuesday baseball in the bigs will take place under the lights. The Yankees matchup with the Tigers would have been a big deal some years ago when both starters Anibal Sanchez of the Tigers and the Yankees’ CC Sabathia were at their best. Sanchez once struck out 17 men, a Tigers’ record and for a while it looked like the old Anibal was back. But the last 3 outings for him have been a nightmare. CC pulls a good outing out of a hat the way Masahiro Tanaka does, right when the Yankees’ social media machine would like to send both of them on a one-way plane to anywhere. Both will what is called be back-end of the rotation starters once Sonny Gray and Jaime Garcia are activated to be numbers 2 and 3 behind ace luis Severino who won last night’s game. Cleveland’s challenge tonight will be no bargain as they face Chris Sale in Boston. The Indians send Carlos Carrasco into this formidable matchup. The road has brought out the best Carlos can offer-a 7-2 record and an ERA under 3. The Nats’ Max Scherzer follows up Gio Gonzalez’ performance when the Nats face the Marlins again tonight. The Braves start Lucas Sims in his MLB against a Dodgers team that has already won 74 games of 105 played. He’s from the Atlanta area and he’ll face a Dodgers’ team whose bats are hotter than the Georgia sun. The Mets’ biggest non-pitching prospect, shortstop Amed Rosario makes his first MLB start tonight in Colorado. The Giants and A’s meet again in a contest between the AL’s worst (Oakland) and the game’s worst (Giants.) The Phillies swept a 4-game series from the Braves while the Giants kept losing. The Phillies hadn’t swept the Braves in Philadelphia since 1949-when the Braves were in Boston and Harry S. Truman was “giving ’em hell” from the White House. After a Nooner yesterday where they beat the Braves for the fourth time in the series, the Phillies face the Angels in Anaheim in one of the late starts tonight. Their hottest pitcher, Aaron Nola faces Ricky Nolasco who has a dozen losses on his ledger for the Angels. The Twins and Padres round out the slate in San Diego.0